3M, a global science company, has taken a unique approach to employee volunteerism, and called the social initiative 3M Impact. This is employee-inspired and purpose-built after employee surveys revealed that a large number of 3M employees around the world were seeking more ways to use their work skills for social good. Employees travel to communities around the world to spend two immersive weeks collaborating with a local organization to contribute to a solution for a pressing social or environmental issue.
By starting one project at a time with small but mighty teams, people can collectively make a big impact. Working in teams of three or four, the volunteers tackle serious challenges or game-changing opportunities as identified by the partnering organization. Thailand, Vietnam, India, China, Poland, Mexico and Brazil are some of the countries to which the 3M teams travel.
3M Impact Local
Since its inception in 2018, the programme has been conducted in partnership with PYXERA Global, to provide local market logistics for the 3M Impact Global teams. PYXERA is regarded globally for developing safe, effective and engaging business and community partnership projects. In February 2020, 15 employees from 13 countries came to New Delhi and partnered with 5 local organizations. The 5 projects in Delhi dealt with subjects as diverse as nutrition of women & children in underserved and marginalized communities to gathering information in support of the implementation of the Air Action Plan for the city of Delhi.
In March 2020, 3M India took this programme a step further, and conducted 3M Impact Local as a pilot. This programme enables local 3M employees to collaborate with organizations dedicated to enacting positive change within their own communities. In partnership with Pyxera Global, 3M India worked with 3 organisations in Bangalore: TISS, AME Foundation and Bal Utsav.
Story of two 3M employee volunteers
Yanique Walters-Dynott, IT Administrator from 3M Jamaica, and Grant McPhee, Category Insights Analyst from 3M Canada, recently travelled to Bangalore, India with 10 other 3M Impact participants. They both applied for the programme to contribute their business skills to a unique cause in an area they had never travelled to and truly make an impact, but what they didn’t realize was how much the programme would impact them personally and professionally.
Before they left, Yanique and Grant discovered that they’d be working together with an organization called Environmental Synergies in Development (ENSYDE), which has a lot of potential to impact the community for the better by teaching the public about the importance of properly disposing of electronic waste. However, the organization was running into a problem with data monitoring and evaluation. To really show the impact of their efforts, ENSYDE needed data, but all the data they had to date had only been entered based on need.
So Yanique and Grant rose to the challenge, excited by the opportunity to create a database system that could both manage the data ENSYDE collected and provide proper reporting to sustain their business. Though their skills were a great match, the task at hand was by no means easy. Knowing their assignment before they left for India, Yanique and Grant had a vision in mind of what their solution was going to look like. When they arrived, however, they realized their plan was not going to work. ENSYDE didn’t have a network, server or standalone machine that could host the database. So, it was back to square one, where they came up with a different solution: building the database system in Excel.
Yanique and Grant learned that a tool like this would save ENSYDE 15 hours a week — valuable time that can be used to run more campaigns and educate more citizens about the dangers of improperly disposing electronic waste. But as much as ENSYDE was positively impacted by their work, Yanique and Grant were impacted just as much.
“Watching the presentations of our other colleagues on the work they did, left me with a great sense of accomplishment that collectively as a group, we had made a difference during our time in Bangalore,” says Grant. “There is no doubt that this experience with 3M Impact has changed my outlook on how I approach work, and will serve me well moving forward.”
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